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Almost an Allegory

Almost an Allegory

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This RP is about writing what you feel, but abstracting it out into a story so that you are no longer enslaved by those feelings, and doing so in a way that is consistent with what has come before in the representation of other people's emotions, that is,

3,960 readers have visited Almost an Allegory since Circ created it.

Introduction

Lost in the conundrum of a childhood full of lies, distorted memories, pain, and regrets, Sable Wakefield chooses to isolate himself from those who care for his well-being. Reality, an aging, mid-sized city going through the throes of transitioning into the modern era, has little appeal for him anymore. Instead, he chooses to immerse himself in a fantasy of the mind, where he feels safe to express himself. But even there, he finds himself coming face-to-face with his own demons, driving him on a path of destruction until he is forced to confront his past.

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Life

Life by RolePlayGateway

The container of experiences that a living creature goes through, whether asleep or awake.

Reality

Reality by Remæus

St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.

Imagination

Imagination by Remæus

A product of thoughts, dreams, pain, and desire - imagination is a world where any expression is possible, but vividly expresses the taint of human depravity.

Reviews

30/30
Characterization: Advanced Plot: Advanced Depth: Advanced Style: Advanced Mechanics: Advanced Overall: Advanced
Circ wrote:This is a great story, leaving the reader with the sense of wanting more after every twist and turn! Every character somehow seems to be part of a larger, as-of-yet unrevealed meta-story, and the net on that is slowly being tightened as remembrances from the past influence the mysteries of the future.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 9 authors

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#, as written by Circ
ImageImage
lacking across the shale jutting from the mossy façade of the stream-swept hillside are hind’s hooves, a cadence intimating that barren souls ought not fashion a pursuit, nor the selfish, nor the shallow, nor the inept.* A crescendo of cloven limbs dashes through a pool ahead, accentuating the rubato and pulling the ardent nearer, but the flickering afternoon light and a grainy, gray ledge obscure the scene. The clamor of hooves diminishes.

Intermission; horsetails flick overhead and toy with merciless bands of bright, translucent gold.

Laying print to rest, I ponder the meaning of that fleeting image, which had cut a path through to my consciousness. What was I feeling at the time? I wonder, reflecting back on the nonthreatening chirping and calming trappings of nature, and then swiftly realizing that I had been feeling a bit adventurous and at peace with myself. My mouth curves into a grin, my eyelids touch, and instead of darkness, as one might expect, there is the confluence of emotion and fantasy.*

Write what you feel, I think to myself and anyone who happens to be listening. Then, furtively, as a warning, lest this take on too great a life, Figuratively, of course.

Rustling, originating in the brush and scrub higher up the hillside, disturbs the stillness of the setting that had slumbered for a handful of moments. Again, the clack of hooves, dislodging pebbles and scattering them so they tumble violently downward and into the short grass growing sparsely along a narrow plateau between two slopes. Hunter is there, listening and waiting, allowing the air to billow through his patchwork hood and his cloak. Hunter, not his name, but what those who see him call him by, much like the titles Father, Lord, and Murderer. All are familiar monikers.


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* Applicable to those contemplating joining Almost an Allegory
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#, as written by Circ
Thickening clouds melt the sky into a bronze basin, the molten fumes lapping tumultuously along the edges and daring light to break beyond the turgid brim. Sporadic, lucent breakthroughs ebb away within the hour, and tiny orbs of rain cast long, thin tethers from vault to vale, as through in a sort of melancholic proxy to the bright bands that did dominate the landscape beforehand.

Beneath all this sits Hunter, still bewildered and transfixed by the sheer audacity and falsity of his title; after all, he does not track beasts, nor slay nor skin them, nor anything even remotely similar. The fact he had, an hour hence, been curiously pursuing the click-clack of hind’s feet was merely a coincidence. One he had put behind him the moment of his failure in executing even that menial task. Now his cloak, already burdened with the sweat of the hunt, is further laden with precipitation. Still, the evening is warm, young, and the rain is not wearisome, nor the blinding shards of plasma exploding to leave vaporous pillars in their wake. He lies on his back in the wet grass and lets the now-heavy globules strike his face.

Disgruntled with the name Hunter, he casts it aside, and elects instead to call himself Sod, for he is sodden and, in his own hazy mind, fits the innumerable meanings that word presents.

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#, as written by Alyxium
At first nature had been welcoming. The open grassy plains, the blossom covered hills, the dew tipped grasses; all had conspired to instill in me a sense of otherness, of freedom.

"This is not a city life of human confines," I had thought as myrtle eyes surveyed the lighter green of nature.

Indeed, how could one feel imprisoned when so far away from looming walls of ancient brick and rules more archaic than the stones that cobbled the streets? Life away from the city was free. Open. The explosion of colour that the natural world provided had been such a contrast to the greys of my masonry-filled town that I could only barely restrain my excitement when leather sole first met vibrant plain.

And it was with a similar sense of wonderment that I had first approached the forest. So many trees and so much greenery--seemingly untouched by human hands. It begged to be explored and I had blithely assented; the trees seemed only too happy to direct me onwards.
Gracious hosts indeed.

However, as the days had worn on, the trees and their knitted branches had begun to choke my sense of liberation as much as the bastille that was my home town. What little food I had packed was already dwindling and the life of an idle city girl had not schooled me in the methods of hunting. Indeed each plotted, each advancing, each labored footfall had slowly chipped away at my resolve that now, now I was free.

Then the rain had started.

Oh, to others it may have been a refreshing pitter of raindrops, but, to me, in that moment it was an abrupt deluge into the clear skies of my mind. The sudden chill that it brought had halted my movement, bringing me an understanding of sorts. As my cloak hugged closer to my body, the encroaching droplets impinged upon me the realisation that despite my swift departure, I had not, in fact, managed to outrun my problems.

The falling water had become another layer of bars sealing me into the past: transient bars, perhaps, but through weary eyes the rain seemed all the more damning for it. The rain would leave. It would be forgotten, replaced by the warming sol, and discarded from thought. For a day, or a week, or a month... but then it would would return just as abruptly to remind me of troubles past, stirring memories that I had deemed better left untouched.

Damn it so! I was not in the mood for an epiphany, not when so far from home, from friends and from shelter. These sorts of stark realisations were best revealed huddle under comfortable delusions in warm beds, not in weathered forests shrouded in precipitation. My footsteps needed to be measured with a serene sense of unquestionable purpose; doubt was a weakness, a flaw, a sin and one in which I did not wish to bemire myself. Stopping now would be tantamount to giving up, to acknowledging defeat but I possessed a raw form of stubbornness; the sort that only a youth of fifteen years can possess. So, forced out from between blue-tinted lips were well reasoned words, if not wholly insincere ones:

"I am sure there will be some place to stay up ahead." A slight pause in voice, though not in movement, before:

"It's cold and I shall become ill if I stop," to punctuate the sentence and give credence to words devoid of true affirmation, I nodded.

The reverberating of thunder pulled me from my thoughts and, after raising my head, I realised that thick trees had given way to shrubbery and hill. Yet my first feeling was not one of relief at having escaped the forest nor fear at the sound of rolling thunder; it was mere confusion.

"Why is that man laying in the rain?"

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#, as written by Circ
At the foothills of midsummer evening, Sod, as he, through a whim, has taken to calling himself, awakens to his foolhardiness. There he lies, amongst wet spines of grass, cold seeping into his bones with each chilly orb of moisture wept by the shimmering white eye rising into the mesh of an encroaching night. Worse yet, those miniscule droplets mix quietly with his own tears of self-pity - not for the present strait he has placed himself in, or even for the inward emptiness of life, but for the merciless axis of physical and emotional turmoil besieging him.

Such a predicament is not lethal, but, as one given to creature comforts, the trembles racking his body are increasingly unacceptable, and irrational, morbid fancies become the locus of his thoughts. As the benefits of death over life weigh in his analytical mind, an exertion of common sense eventually pushes them aside, but his feelings of sadness do not subside so easily. He realizes he is more fool than adventurer, enslaved and enervated by the frailty of his own mind. So he cries, perhaps for the worst but most sincere reason anyone can. He cries for himself.

He is in that pathetic condition when the loneliness of dusk is broken by another figure striding up the hillside.

Distracted from his self-immersion by the sound of water drumming against another person’s clothes, he inclines his head in their direction and efforts to espy them through the fog and the rain. Yet, blurry-eyed as he is, there is little he is able to define. Then, for reasons he is unwilling to dissect, the burning rash of embarrassment creeps into his face as it occurs to him the shadowy form is that of a woman. Thank God for the rain he thinks, recalling his tears. He then props himself up on his elbow to get a clearer view of the woman and, after choking down his first attempt, hails them with the words: “A pleasant evening, is it not?”

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#, as written by Dovey
The rain had stopped as suddenly as it had come, the dark thunderheads rumbling into the distance. She stood there, her clothes clinging to her like a second skin, dripping, as she watched the woman's hair dance solemn nocturnes in the current.

She was thankful for the rain, for moments before, she had killed someone. There was no blood to wash off, no weapon to cast off, instead, the drenching storm disguised the river water that sopped her clothes where she plunged the woman's head beneath the turbulent current.

It was foolish to do so in savage daylight, under the flickering cover of bending horsetails, whose shadows were like black tributaries, spreading out into the true tributary where the woman's hair exploded underwater like a macabre Medusa under my straining arms. Broad daylight, an act of desperation. I clutch the weapon to my breast, my handprints on her throat. I'm soaked. She drifts. I run.

I am fleeing from it, this gauzy doppleganger come to visit my fantasy. I ponder this act of murder safely hidden in the ether of imagination, this clarity that comes with crises of the existential kind, with sharp desires to rid yourself of the old. This is the point of one's life, balanced on the edge of a knife, at once looking forward and back, Janus-faced.

A tapping, like horse hooves.

"Hello? Mel?"

I open my eyes to find him tapping a pencil against the glass desk. Their eyes are on me.

"Do the human-interest story. The local one about the dog driving a car?"

They're watching me, sepulchral, blood-sucking, but I say, Damn it. Damn the human-interest story. My life is suddenly balanced on the edge of a divine blade, so damn these cramped cubicles, smell of toner, eyes reflecting the non-photo blue of computer monitors, "... please accept my resignation," my indignation, my refusal to write lines to spin lies on the human condition.

I, Janus-faced look back with eyes of flint and look ahead with clear-eyed excitement of adventure and quest and journey, the clarity of untethered imagination. I, fleet-footed, pass through the glass doors into the Elysian fields of fantasy. I, lynx-eyed never look back.

I clutch the weapon to my breast. My handprints are on her throat. She drifts. I run. Reborn in the river, every act of creation is, at first an act of destruction.

She hadn't noticed her hair clinging to her skin in dark rivulets. Her breathing harsh. But when she rose, lightning illuminated her surroundings, casting her eyes eternity-blue, eyes that could see forever, for she had changed her destiny. Where it would take her, she did not know.

With each unfolding step, she leaves it all behind her: the river runs, the horsetails bend, and a woman's hair dances solemn nocturnes in the current, her eyes non-photo blue.

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#, as written by Alyxium
A more simple part of me wanted to run forth and embrace this man; this anchor to civilisation. Another wisely noted that I was a lone, scrawny teen, shaking from hunger and dancing droplets doing their best impression of icicles, as well as not being very well equipped to fight off a mad man. For surely this man was mad, I reasoned. After all, what sort of person would lie in the midst of a thunderstorm, apparently unperturbed by the piercing cold and the arrows of incandescent light that carved their way through the firmament?

"One that was either in the midst of dying, already dead or insane," I replied to my unspoken thought; I wasn't entirely sure which I would prefer to deal with.

It took a few moments for me to realise I was moving towards the recumbent figure. This comprehension trickled up to the mind that was only now acquiescing to my bodies demands. Trapped inside my head, time had simply continued it's incessant march without me and I was certainly suprised to discover my legs had strode forwards to greet the stranger, seemingly of their own volition. Oh well, when in roam-I was about to offer a greeting when it occurred to me that the man had propped himself up on his elbow. Well at least he's not dead.

“A pleasant evening, is it not?”


Insane. The man was definitely insane then. Soggy, auburn hair clings unyieldingly to my neck and rain trickles down from my brow. It stops but for a moment, as if preparing for it's journey down my gaunt cheeks, before it continues onward to join it's comrades in my top. Or possibly my boots. Lightning crashes in the distance, illuminating the sky for a moment, before darkness rushes back into the hole created by it's absence. An empty stomach is a stark contrast to my overcrowded head and it's all I can do to keep my trembling body in check and my tears at bay. To say nothing for the biting cold that now pierced my scrawny frame. How could anyone call this pleasant?

A thought drifted up from the base of my mind to the ethereal string of consciousness: Reply, it's only polite. Which, if I had been in a more stable frame of mind, would have surely begged the question; why, of all things, is politeness more important than my own safety? I was getting lost among my thoughts again. If I kept this up no doubt the man would infer that I was mute. So strained upwards through my throat, out along the conveyor that was my tongue and onward through chattering teeth, was a sentence that had barely survived the gauntlet of my mouth:

"Uh... um... no?"

Oh, typical; my lips had failed me yet again. Mentally I cursed, and tried vainly to regain what little composure my currently disheveled state afforded me. As I inched closer towards him, I hastily offered the man another half-thought sentence;

"Well, I mean it's rather..." I stumbled around my own tongue, searching for the word that would succinctly explain my predicament.

"...wet." Well, that went well, I snidely thought, before wondering why on earth the opinion of a man I had just met would mean more to me, right now, than shelter and a hot bath.

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#, as written by Circ
A vivid, sawtooth strobe illuminated to Sod a creature shivering in the torrent, her pallid skin streaked by a blood-like weave of dank, copper ropes from her crown to her neck. The fractal radiance dissipated back into the deep gloam, but gears of judgment whirled in his mind as he evaluated her façade via the external fragments he had gleaned during that brief moment of luminescence. Would I marry her? he thought, along with such doubts as Is she beyond me? and She seems so frail...

Sod truly hated himself for the patterns of analysis that plagued his consciousness, but his efforts to stop them had failed ever since his exodus from the cocoon of child-like innocence. He hardly knew her, and already his mind sought to discredit the woman as a potential mate. Absurd! He was not so base as to consider a woman only for the sake of ... he was not even sure of what. However, those gears came grinding to an abrupt halt at the sound of her voice.

“Uh… um… no?”

His unmasked disingenuousness stabbed back through his own heart at her candid words. Her honesty was beautiful and brutal. Of course it wasn’t a pleasant evening. It was a ghastly, wet, stormy maelstrom of an encroaching night. Yet, that wasn’t the point, was it? The weather was completely unrelated to how he felt, or so it should have been; yet, it seemed to more accurately reflect his soul than the duplicitous words cast off his tongue. He had masqueraded as man content with himself when, inwardly, he was in agony.

His blush had subsided during his self-condemnation, and he had completely missed the last few things she had said.

“You are right,” he quickly admitted, pulling his miserable flesh to its feet.

Lightning revealed her shivering form again, arms wrapped around her to no effect. A reminder of how cold he, too, was. For as much his own as her benefit, he said, “Come, let us take shelter.” It was several steps later that it occurred to him that he should take her arm and help her up the hill toward a small overhang he had seen before dusk where, if nothing else, they would be out of the rain.

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#, as written by Alyxium
“You are right,”

I was? Well yes, I suppose I was. Still, I had expected his words to be more heavily laced with bewilderment at my intellectual faux pas. Maybe he had not heard? Ahh... one could hope, though maybe he was simply used to people saying odd things. I suppose, if he is mad, then he would hear a myriad of strange things quite often and be rather accustomed to them by now.

The man drew himself rather wearily to his feet. The slight strain with which he did so was not that odd considering current circumstances and yet I felt as if his limbs moved with more fatigue than tiredness or rain alone ought to induce.

Perhaps he carries some ponderous burden with him- No sooner than that thought had finished meandering across my frontal cortex, lightning bore through the stratosphere once again.

The way in which it lit up the man was rather jarring, yet it was this that galvanised my mind; it reminded me of the crudeness of such mawkish thoughts. To think that I could infer such things from subtle body language when all was so lowery? That such a nascent bond would ripen so, when the mans name was not even known to me?

In truth this was simply just what I wished for; to pretend he was someone with whom I could share my pains and my worries, regardless of my problems actual worth. To pretend that he was a brother or a friend, instead of the unknown quantity that he was. It was comforting to see him in this fashion. Yet any such thoughts were soon suppressed when the man spoke thusly;

“Come, let us take shelter.”

An idea I could certainly get behind. Yet I stayed still, unsure what to do; both this mans motives and actions were terribly abstruse to me. He, however, seemed to have no such qualms about walking through the rain with a stranger--he had begun his ascent up the hill. A few dozen thoughts clouded my mind once again, the foremost of them harping on about the importance of not following strangers at night, but the lethargy that attacked my limbs and the barrage of raindrops that pelted my clothes forced one thought forward:

Honestly, what is the likelihood of meeting anyone more desirable out here?


My reasoning was sound enough and so the line of consciousness continued: I should follow him. This thought earned plaudits from my limbs as they began their oddly alacritous ascent upward with a steady march. It seemed company and respite from the rain were more important to me than I had realised. Certainly more than my own safety at least.

After several steps I realised that the distance between us had receded partially. It was certainly not due to any haste on my part: my movement, although steady, was slow and lethargic. In fact, it was because the man had stopped. Maybe in thought?

My actions were once again cast into doubt, though I daren't stop moving lest I become unable to start again; I merely slowed down as the distance receded more and more. After a quick internal monologue I decided that simply passing him would be foolish when I had no idea where this shelter was, so instead I would stride beside him--at a safe distance of course--and suggest we not stop.

Although first I decided that offering my name would be the polite thing to do. So, rapidly approaching his side, I did just that:

"Charlotte..." hesitation caused partially by doubt and partially by the realisation that such a sentence would only force more clarity to be sought, I added:

"...my name." I quickly decided that the completed sentence I had cobbled together was rather confusing, so I rushed out another:

"I mean: that is... my name."

"Charlotte," I affirmed again due to the fear that originally my voice not been heard. Although, oddly enough, I neglected to speak louder the second time.

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#, as written by Circ
Once adrift in the bewildering currents of social norms, he had not realized that the woman was struggling to his side until she had nearly passed him. And, as absurd as it may seem, the fact he had taken time to consider whether or not he should perform the gentlemanly act of assisting her somehow made it solicited and, therefore, unbearably awkward. He decided instead to walk wordlessly alongside her, and quietly cursed himself for his hapless pause and odious moment of perplexing consideration of what should have been an effortless gesture.

Then, of course, she opened her mouth and spoke.

In the lady’s parade of syllables, he had gleaned a useful parcel. Charlotte. Yes, her name. Something that paled in comparison to how she uttered it in unsure, fractured half-sentences. Every tumultuous, harmonious stumble of her tongue caused Sod to feel veritably elated and his own unease melted away. There was more than one gauche vagabond who splashed up the loathsome hillside, and a peculiar comfort dwelt in that sentiment, however maleficent. So, while his conceptual embrace was momentarily jarred with guilt, he nevertheless chose to succor confidence from Charlotte’s insecurity. After all, who can resist the lure of false strength?

At any rate, morality be damned, and may she never know! whispered his mind to his soul.

So, for a few moments, his steps felt lighter, despite the ruggedness of the slope, breathing came easier, despite the stuffiness of the evening air, and then … then he realized it was his turn to offer up a name on the altar of politeness. Unprepared, he chose not to say anything at all, lest he lose his tentative self-confidence.

It was at the end of that undulation of dark emotion that the rain stopped falling on them, as they were beneath the ledge.

“We are here,” he said, as if such a thing were not obvious. Then, to somehow assuage her of his poor manners, he mumbled, “I am sorry.” His spirit, encouraged by the admission, assailed him with a condemning deluge: I am sorry for my selfishness, for my lack of history, honesty, integrity, or anything that makes one relish life. Were more than a single moment given to how you came to this point, you may realize it has more to do with being lonely and crying in the rain.

His back was to her, as he had turned to gaze out over the faintly glowing valley.

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#, as written by Dovey
For a moment I stand there with my back toward the building and look unseeingly out onto the parking lot where the cars glitter with raindrops from the passing storm. My toes hang over the edge of the curb and my bag thumps dumbly against my thigh as I hesitate and wonder, What have I done?

The back of my neck tingles, half-expecting a blast of air-conditioning as he rushes after me. He would touch my shoulder and turn me around with those fingers always stained with ink from writing memos on the back of his hand. He would be too close, smelling of coffee and cigarette smoke. He would ask, "Mel, what the hell happened back there? What do you think you're doing?"

Nothing of the sort happens, of course, and I am suddenly hyper-aware of the silence, the vacuum of sound sectioned off by a pair of glass doors, behind which clatter keyboards and voices chatter over the drone of printing and xeroxing and faxing and the white noise of humming computers and rustling papers. I have to consciously stop myself from looking back, almost yearning for the familiar monotony, but my pride saves me from the chagrin.

She pulled herself away from the river, where the body had already drifted away. The mire sucked at her feet, and the bracken clawed at her clothes and hair, but she made her way steadily onto the river's bank. There was no rush in her actions, each motion spare and unwasted, but the fluorescent glow of rabid emotion and adrenaline was already fading from her limbs. Stumbling into a clearing, with a trembling arm, she released a fist of snow-white salt onto the ground and let it fall around her in an arc wide enough to encircle her body. She curled up in its center, but it remained unfinished, another handful of salt lying inert in her still palm.

I close the car door, hermetically sealing myself off from the mute indifference of the parking lot. I catch my reflection in the rear view mirror and notice my hair frizzing from the dampness of the weather and futilely try to smooth it down. My eyes lock onto their reflections for longer than they should, long enough to assess the following: my roots are showing, my lips are chapped, my skin wane, dark shadows under by eyes. I reach out to flick on some tripe on the radio and find that my nail polish has chipped, and make a note to myself to patch those up as well as redo my roots, do something about my skin and the dark under-eye circles. Suddenly I feel so tired. The thought of these acts of vain self-preservation tax me, all of these insignificant details adding up--and adding up to what? I lean my head back and close my eyes.

She let herself fall asleep. After one commits a crime, one ought to run, ought to cut one's hair, change one's clothes, ought to slip into another identity, but these worries are tranquilized by velvet somnia, for, as her yawning consciousness rationalized, in the middle of nowhere there was nothing she could do, no one from whom to run, no where to which to go. After all, what dominion does one's identity have in the wilderness? She might as well have been the grass or the rock or the brook. She was nothing but a strange animal here.

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#, as written by Circ
Diminishing to a gentle treble of infrequent raindrops splattering on the few flat stones scattered upon the hillside, the night and the storm could be construed as tranquil. Nearby shivering emanating from behind Sod indicates otherwise. He considers the decline in nature’s hostility, and concludes that it is only a transient lull during which he should remain under shelter, such as it is.

Sluggishly turning, he observes his guest. It occurs to him how peculiar referring to her as guest, as he is just as much a stranger here as she. Even so, his apathy to the weather manifests itself as inner strength, in which he feels she has taken refuge, and he gives himself over to the role of comforter.

“People call me Hunter,” he mumbles to Charlotte, squatting down and tracing a circle in the cool soil. He blows on it, whispering something that should be meaningless, but a diaphanous celadon glow immediately expresses itself within the hovering mist of his exhale. Soon the whole of the circle erupts, offering up to the pair the amenities of warmth and light.

Closing his beleaguered eyes to the blaze, he remarks, “You should rest.” In the back of his mind is the noise of feet hurrying through the forest before abruptly halting and, further down the valley, the trod of heavy boots. Sod scowls at the latter, wondering if he should be grateful they aren't involved.

“We'll figure out more in the morning.”

I lean forward on my elbows, my tinted glasses clattering on the tabletop. Blinking away the artificial light, there is the small-town café again, a television in the corner regurgitating the same doldrums it has for the last several decades. My nostrils flare as the scent of espresso wafts by, but there is my watch. Late. Sighing, I get up, packing my laptop and exiting.

Outside is a busy street. I cross it, barely mindful of the vehicles careening by, and somehow manage to reach the small parking lot on the other side. The condemned building is still standing, I muse ironically, recalling the plan to build a parking garage on the location and accommodate the urban sprawl. Extracting the keys from my pocket, I press a small button that mitigates the effort of locating an ancient, ‘09 Prius, which announces itself with a blare An incidental glance belies an adjacent car with a woman in it. Her face seems familiar, but I really can’t bring myself to care, and I’m already starting the engine by the time it occurs to me that maybe I should.

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#, as written by Dovey
The evening faded into a pressurized night, tangible with a cold light that cast fretful shadows as a fan of eyelashes trembled against the silent skin under her eyes. A pounding like a heartbeat, like the bass of a stereo, like the boom of a canon, the sound of a rumbling ground canvassed by troops of boots made the thin skin of an eyelid flutter.

They snapped open. Eyelashes fanned out from the whites. Black pupils constricted in the writhing ripples, the branching bands, the squirming streaks of her blue irises. She awakened, the distant sound of the river in her ears, slick cold grass plastered to her face, her hands gritty with salt. Salt, she wondered, her pensive fingers still pruney with river water ruminating over its texture, before a shadowy realization flickering across her consciousness severed the last of the black thread that had bound her north and south to sleep—she realized, encircling her, her magic circle of salt--a barrier between herself and what she had summoned--was incomplete.

Her breath was stifled in the heavy darkness as her ears anticipated the drip of river water from drenched clothes and hair and her eyes studied the shadows, divining a figure emerging from the gloom, a woman, her mirror image, her gauzy doppelganger come to haunt her once more. Call it what you will: simulacrum, homunculus, golem, twin, sister, daughter. With shaking hands, the same ones she used to drown it, she dipped her fingers into the salt and spread it along the ground to complete the circle, a barrier between herself and this animated flesh she had summoned, this conjuration she had then murdered by the river.

I have no guilt about this, to create someone of your own likeness. It's not narcissism, to have this need for companionship to rise from raw material into something, someone that talks to you, companion to your daily life. Considering the conundrum of your fellow human, I gave in to the tempting simplicity of having someone you could control, pliant in its familiarity, identical to yourself.

There I was, anticipating the exhilarating moment of when I could look back at my creation and ask myself, "Could I love you?"

And to my thrilling satisfaction it answers, "Yes, I could."

A pounding like a heartbeat, the sound of a rumbling ground canvassed by troops of boots, like the boom of a canon, like the bass of a stereo, like a cell phone on vibrate makes the thin skin of my eyelids flutter.

I dig through my purse and nearly up-end it before I find my cell phone, buzzing in my hand, its face glowing pale green, and answer it with a terse, “Yes, I’m coming home. No, it’s alright. Don’t wait up.”

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#, as written by Vexar
Plasma erupted through the dark of nothingness. It lingered away from the gravity of its star. Something travelled with it, in the void of nothing. It was lost, drifting through something it could not perceive. It took only moments for this something to turn into matter. With this transformation, came form. With this form, came a figure. This figure lofted through space. It traveled to an unknown destination. This figure had consciousness, and in its thoughts; it wondered the questions of all sentient beings. It created descriptions for the nothing around it.

It drifted, age after age. It never learned the answers to its questions; it only came up with possibilities. Eventually, this figure found something new. Perhaps, this something could be an answer. It was round, with beautiful colors of greens and browns. These colors were bordered with glorious blues and whites. The figure grew excited, as excited as it had ever been. In fact, it had never been excited before; and did not know what it was feeling.

The figure grew larger, could this mean it would come to the figure? It grew larger and larger, till it encompassed nearly all the figures vision. Something new was covering the figure. This was a new feeling as well. It caused the figure to cry out loud, it had never known such a sound. This was pain, as the figure we engulfed in fires as hot as what bore it into life. It burned down through the atmosphere of the planet. Large ridges climb out of this planet, rushing towards the burned figure. The pain has left, and the figure looked at the world that rushed towards it.

A line that swirled and twisted through this planet, moved toward the figure. This was its destination. Only moments were left.

The sound resonated through the valleys and rivers. An explosion that had not been seen in years reverberated through the air.


I woke up, in darkness, as lost as the figure I had dreamt of. Perhaps this was I, in some other world. I shook my head a bit. I searched for time, but it eluded me; there had been a power outage. The clock blinked 5:00 am. This meant it had been five hours since the power outage. I glanced around, and searched for the possibility of light. I nearly prayed that it decided to stay away for another few hours. However, I was denied. Light peeked from my darkened curtains.

I slipped out of the bed, and noticed that my cellular phone had called for me. It flashed and blinked. I had missed a call. My slumber had taken its toll on my body, and I stumbled toward the phone; the covers still clinging to me as a lover would hug for their companion. The phone still taunted me, just out of reach.

Blink…Blink…Blink…

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#, as written by Circ
Three blocks. A stretch of road visible from one end to the other, were it not for a square built to barricade the poor from the middle-class. Chipping stucco on the façade of a fountain in the square’s midst accentuates the beige edifice with a two-tone effect, something perhaps nostalgic of the old world, but, on closer inspection, indicative of poor maintenance. Even the water sputtering from its Aulos-shaped spigots is yellow and putrid. As I drive around, slowing to accommodate the errant, inattentive rabble chattering into their headsets, it curiously reminds me of passing through the gate of a planned community, where walls serve only to keep the middle-class from peering into the citadels of those wealthier than they. Three blocks from faux-finish marble to rubble. Another three blocks deeper into the abyss where a parking garage and an apartment building I don’t call home are. I would walk it, but the throng, with their questions, the insincerity, make doing so unpalatable.

With the engine off, I pull myself from the vehicle and into the dank shadows of the garage to briefly admire the graffiti. I consider taking in a deep breath, but the scent of rat droppings belays that. There is little left to suggestion with the scurrying of claws to the crannies and fissures of this concrete prison. Then my own feet, leaving it for another.

With a memorized stride, I put my glasses on for just a few moments.

Cool, clean air churns the speculative predawn and faint wisps of starlight lance the flocculent mantle shrouding their reality. Sod breaks his gaze with it, deferring the breezy caress for another moment, to see that she - what was her name? Charlotte, a fellow sufferer, like he! - slumbers in the wavering flames of an enchantment. Gone are the threatening, heavy footfalls. Present is the distant sound of breathing, perhaps even weeping. He steps forward, eager to investigate the anomaly, when something sinewy crunches underfoot.

Crouching down, I slide the postal items from beneath my shoe, and examine the first affronting item. My address, the sewer of my descent, rests neatly below my name, Sable Wakefield, in a precise, fixed-width, laser-print typeface. Opposite on the envelope are the characters MS-AT&T. Flipping the overdue notice aside in despair, I encounter the next item, a travel magazine with pictures of places that I will likely never visit in my lifetime. Finally, there is a postcard; Buonarroti’s first Pietà. It hangs in my hand with unusual gravity, just as Christ in the arms of his mother, each with suspicion and forlorn detachment. The surreal nature of the juxtaposition is something I deliberately ignore, focusing on the more immediate decision to read it now or wait until after dealing with my roommate.

I choose the latter, having been the recipient of such before and not wanting to confront it, just as I hadn’t yet dealt with the previous two.

Behind the metal door is, like a cramped root cellar, the first chamber in a small, three-room apartment, with a dusty futon and a Tesseract III entertainment studio making permanent impressions on the industrial gray carpet, which transitions to battered linoleum behind a counter barricading off a sink, stove, and refrigerator. Flipping on the glaring fluorescent overhead, I hear a distant groan coming from a dark, reeking pit where I spend as little time as possible, save when sleep necessitates it. Dropping my attaché on the countertop, I peer into the cavern, and see someone stumbling about like Lazarus, but wearing bedcovers, the black sheets not quite evocative of grave clothes.

“Did you sign up, yet?” I say cordially, tossing my hoodie overtop the stack of things I had lain on the counter and stepping over a pile of laundry in the cramped bedroom to get dressed for work.

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#, as written by Vexar
"Sign up?" I mumbled, still draped in the dark of covers. "Oh, the game..." I gazed back to the phone. "I fell asleep playing the thing mate. Rather addicting I'd say." I opened the phone, hoping for a break from work. I was in luck. A text read, quite clearly. Rather, yelled into the back of my skull. "You are fired." It had only been my hope that they'd choose to get rid of me. They had a binding contract to me, and would now have to pay me for doing nothing.

It stood from the liquid. The steam poured from every crevice of the blackened being. It took in the sight of it's surroundings, and the feeling of pain as it cooled. It seemed this was it's only feeling, other than the excitement of hope.

A sharp crack sounded from behind it. No, from it. It's rocky skin cracked as ice formed in ribbons along it. It yelled.

"Har'vos Nar'ak!" Another yell came from the beast as another sheet of ice cracked it's rocky shell. The ice flew from the surrounding forest.

The beast moved as best it could, trying to find the source of its pain. It saw a flash of blue from the shadows before it. It felt the pain in its chest. Now it learned anger, frustration. Why should it be attacked for doing nothing?

"Das'al De'vahn!" With that, the beast was frozen to the water below it. A black haired man slipped out of the forests edge, "Suffer demon, for you can no longer burn."

The figure did not know the language. Yet, it understood the meaning of suffer. It suffered. It was covered in an icy shell that held every segment of it together. The ice cracking the hot rock of its flesh. It could now only watch, as it had for so long before. It watched the black haired man smirk at it.

I smirked in my victory against the unknowing company. I had this planned all along. "How about dinner after work mate?" I looked up to my room mate. "My treat."

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#, as written by Dovey
The keys clatter onto the counter. The sound makes me feel old. I am not sure if I am fond of the feeling or not. For some people, it is the sound of a weary, set life, of idealistic dreams faded, of compromises and broken promises and unfulfilled goals. But to me, it also sounds like security. The clatter of keys sound like security to me—it means, as I daydream, that I am successful enough from the high-salary hypothetical job I am coming home from, that I am unlocking the door to a hypothetical high-class apartment, one big enough to have a hypothetical marble counter on which to toss my keys.

But I have no hypothetical dream job, no hypothetical high class apartment to go home to, and the hypothetical marble counter is just made out of some kind of plastic. I put down my bag and shuck off my shoes and cross to small area known as the kitchen.

Then again, I think, it's a bit alarming how quickly and easily we get used to these things. It had been almost a year since I had graduated. To think the summer before my freshman year I had been frittering away my last days of summer before my first year of college. What could I have been possibly thinking about then, I wonder to myself. I amuses me that I am examining my younger self as if it were a curious sociological anomaly. As if everyone had responsibilities by that point of their lives.

I turn on the stove and boil some water to make macaroni and cheese. The Easy Mac kind. As I wait for the noodles to cook, I check my email. There is mostly spam, a few correspondences with family and friends back home. I look through them and wish that my life could be more efficient. I wish I could be doing something even as I glance through and reply to those emails whose contents are made trite simply by the instantaneousness of their digital transit.

    hey melanie,

    still being the mel-in-melodramatic? don't want to spring more bad news on you, but i got an email from the alumni association. hope you still remember our jr year english teach. . .

Suddenly I remember what I was thinking during those idyll last days of summer. I had been writing a list.

1. I had scrawled. Alex Garland wrote The Beach when he was 26.

2. Helen Oyeyemi wrote The Icarus Girl when she was 19.

I get up to check the macaroni. Too much time has passed, and I haven't written a single page. I squeeze the thick cheese from the packet onto the cooked noodles. Plans, outlines, sketches, notes in the margins—that is all my progress has amounted to so far. I stir.

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#, as written by Circ
I want to refuse. After all, I don’t really like the guy. In fact, his perpetual irresponsibility grates on my nerves. Yet there is something about despair that steals one’s will away, and, as if some prying outsider, I hears the word sure slip presumptuously past my lips. The moist sweatshirt I’m pulling overtop my head covers what is an otherwise plainly visible wince, but throwing it to the floor with the rest of the dirty laundry does nothing to diminish just how stuffy the room suddenly feels. Spraying on some brand-generic deodorant and slipping into dress slacks, I turn to leave, making sure to qualify my statement by saying, “After work.”

The thing is, we’re best friends.

Snatching my keys and glasses from the counter, I step for the door, and that’s when it hits me. Full stop, I stand there, trembling, the post cards I had scornfully put aside accusing me from my periphery. Throwing my mind back to a time when I foolishly thought myself deserving of happiness.

Summer. A small group of students had decided to take a course to occupy their grasping minds during the lull between semesters, I amongst them. Even with part-time work, it was all too easy to feel restless, and sitting in a dark room playing console games just wasn‘t satisfying anymore. We knew we couldn’t learn anything by it, just as we recognized the emptiness in fraternities, streaking, and unruliness.

There were five of us, including the teacher’s beatific daughter.

Eight weeks later, we were as close as five people could be. And had recalled something long dormant, from when we ran barefoot through backyards seeing what wasn‘t really there, but was plainly visible through the eyes of our soul.


“Sable, are you alright man?”

I shrug my shoulders, pocket my keys, and make sure to close the door behind me on the way out. No eye contact, no words. I’ve rehearsed this, and hope he understands, just like every other time. That’s why he is my good friend.

On the other side, a tender breeze caresses Hunter’s stubble. What is he doing, standing on a hill, crushing strands of dew-laden fescue beneath supple, doe-skin boots that are ridiculous and inappropriate given the values he swore to her? Errant, worthless values, just as he is errant and worthless. Scruples that only exist in another world. Cleansing his thoughts, he remembers listening for something, someone; a sigh emanating from the overgrown, writhing forestation nestling in the cleft of two weary hills where the valley is most narrow. Further down, it explodes into a grand plain that distinctly and inevitability transforms into a gathering of crumbling mortar and glaring lights, but neither the mortar nor the lights are of interest to him.

Recklessly, he bounds down the slope and into the cathedral of wood and leaves. Branches crackle, snap, and ensnare under and around his feet and ankles before he comes to a panting stop, stills, and listens. Listens for the rhythmic breathing of a woman just below his gaze. The second of the night, if dawn hasn’t yet erupted over the ridge.

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#, as written by Alyxium
Upon finally reaching the outcropping that would serve as our shelter, I had balked only momentarily as I realised that our dwelling lacked a bed (or, indeed, actual walls) before the weariness of the day had began it's final onslaught upon my decaying resolve to Just. Stay. Awake. Dammit.

While the benignity of the stranger had absolved my fears somewhat, sleep had still seemed rather ill-considered,
yet Hunter (as he revealed his name to be) had conjured up a small fire; the flames of which had winsomely danced to some whispery, veiled melody. The spellbinding movements, in cooperation with the fires warmth, had simply enticed my eyelids to move further down; guiding me in closer to the harbour of sleep.

Hunters next few words had barely registered but his insistence that 'we'll figure it out in the morning' (Figure... what... out? I had vaguely managed to mumble softly), had been the final lullaby that had whisked my consciousness away. In such a state I found the rugged, stony floor to be almost comforting.

I have often read about people waking up in strange, unfamiliar places and having to take a moment to remember where they had been prior. I was offered no such respite from reality; upon waking up I was all too aware of the knowledge that I had slept on the ground in the middle of nowhere. I was also quick to note that my mysterious benefactor was missing.

My eyes scanned the encompassing region for any evidence of his resting form but found none. If I'd had the strength I'd've probably shot up with in confusion but, as it was, I was only able to drowsily haul myself up into a sitting position.

"Hu-Hunter?" I called out meekly towards the sun.

After a few moments of waiting the sun had still not replied to my timid question, so I called out again;

"Hunter? Are you there?"

Despite the extra confidence that permeated through my second question, I once again received no reply. A sudden feeling of isolation tried to impinged upon my sullen self but I was quick to bat it away like some bothersome insect. Reassuring myself that he was just outside, I determined, in quiet reply to the grumbling of my stomach, that he was 'probably out getting food no doubt'.

He could probably use some help
. Standing up and shaking the drowsiness from lethargic limbs that begged to rest more, I checked that I had all my (meager) belongings, imprisoned my recalcitrant locks in a ribbon and set off to go find my altruistic stranger.

Sounds emanated from behind me and formed themselves into words.

"We've run out of milk."

It was simple, it was blunt; the way she usually spoke when she wanted something. The red-painted lips the sounds escaped from continued;

"We're on our last roll of toilet paper and there's, like, no vegetables left. All we've got is those mushrooms."

"And you want me to do what about it exactly? I don't drink milk and I like the mushrooms," I replied with a bit too much venom at the sudden distraction my roommates words caused me.

Leaning against the pale door frame she stared disapprovingly at me.

"I thought you were going to get off that thing and go shopping with me."

My audible groan was enough to make my roommate to roll her eyes and leave the room again, tossing the words "Fine then... but I'm not getting you anything," casually over her shoulder.

The horrifying thought of having to watch my friend pig-out on snacks without having any of my own to munch on caused me to recant my inferred replied. 'Finefinefineeeeeeee! I'll be there in a sec, just let me-'

My mother used to chastise me for spending too much time with my head among the clouds; I used to think I didn't spend enough. Lately though I have begun to wish that I could spend less time immersed in the whirlpool of my thoughts. This was never more true than in this moment; the one with the abrupt realisation that my feet were no longer parallel to my shoulders. The outcropping was steeper than it had seemed the previous night.

The floor seemed to have decided to rush towards my head and I barely recognised the earsplitting shriek as my own voice as I began my hurtling descent towards the bottom of the hill. DAMMI- Despite only being conscious for a few minutes it seemed my limbs had schemed to find the fastest way to return me to that peaceful state (and in such an un-peaceful way too I would've lamented).

The shriek seemed to fade as all went dim.

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#, as written by Circ
A fist supports my head as I peer down through a blurry mesh of eyelashes at my desk. I see the foreboding shape of ear buds near my elbow, thrust uncomfortably down against a fake wood surface. Peeling edges expose its superficiality. A connector cable wreathes toward a cassette player holding my workday on a translucent strand of tape. Reaching over, as if to flick them away in offense, I instead resign myself to the audio-manacles and begin converting a deposition to print form. Clarity and volume are my refuge, lest I need acknowledge the stack of steno sheets and wearily work my way through that arcane dialect of consonants and vowels.

Question and answer, a male and female voice discuss absurdities in incidental tones. Their voices are as numbing as the stuffy cubicle, complete with a vent blowing in a constant stream of frigid air, filtered to include dust mites, mold spores, and God knows what. Yet, the lurid tale so casually reconstructed manages to keep me awake.

It starts with a drowning death in a swimming pool, which is barely enough to tweak my eyebrows. Typical accidental death stuff. But new details continue to manifest: Three people were in the pool, and the one who drowned went unnoticed until the effects of alcohol melted away. Of the three intoxicated persons, the entire company, one was male and quite recently married, another was a junior in high school, and the third had suckled chlorinated death. Hearing they were nude and cavorting surprises me, despite how the previous facts lead to that deduction. Of course, my ‘thrilling’ life experiences don’t amount to anything close. I’ve never even been naked a locker room, much less had sex, so the idea of coitus with a girl young enough to land me in jail while in my bride’s parent’s swimming pool blows my mind.

I pause my typing, as well as the tape player, and blink. Is this real? Looking at the pamphlet, it appears to be; it is in a lower court worthy only of a district number, somewhere in Pennsylvania. A town I’ve never even heard of, despite the fact I don’t live too far away, judging by the county. Glancing at the clock, it is hours from lunch, and that is the only break we have in the day. With a shrug, I press play and resume typing.

Details. They’re easy to get lost in. Like how the teenage girl is the bride’s cousin and the older one is a non-relation; a bride’s maid or something. Why they were even there, alone in that house, is something I can’t get my mind around. Either way, after the two girls wear each other out, the groom got understandably jealous, and completely missed the perfectly legal - albeit immoral - candidate for satisfying his carnality submerge beneath a rippling reflection of moonlight while he eagerly spurned the law. How any of them managed to escape alive, boozed up and - the young man, at least - exhausted following his refractory period, is a miracle.

It is noon when the tape clicks. Taking out the ear buds, I burp. Just because, after recovering from the awkwardness, I found it all incredibly funny, and my suppressed laughter had turned into compressed air.

‘This will give me something discuss over dinner,’ I muse, leaning back in my computer chair and nearly falling over as a scream rattles my confidence and a pale face gazes sightlessly back from a bed of curling leaves on the forest floor.

‘But the scream did not come from her,’ Sod thinks, kneeling and listening intently. A series of thuds, like a sac of grain falling on a barn floor, reverberate through the forestation behind him. Guilt impales his trunk, along with a sense of neglect, and he immediately moves to retrace his footsteps. As the forest clears, he discovers his first night caller slumbering like a bludgeoned beast at the base of the slope.

Collapsing to his knees in the stone-strewn turf, he grabs her shoulders and shakes her with markedly less verve than the manipulative terror setting his hands atremble. Caution clamps his throat like a withering mule pelt asphyxiating its victim.

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#, as written by komf
She shook her head to clear it, tangled hair whipping across her face and small beads of sweat flying. She'd been dreaming of swamps again, lulled to sleep in the big chair in her living room by the gentle, inexorable motion of the celestial sphere. She'd forgotten to draw the metal over the walls and ceiling again, and by noon the glass all 'round had caught the sunlight like fireflies in a net, focused and trapped it 'til the sweat coursed freely down her neck. Raindrops on the glass glimmered like stars, casting lights about the room rather than shadows.

(Slumped over my desk, bleary from sudden exposure to lamplight, I gather my eye sockets in my hands. It's late. I glance at the digital clock. It's fucking late. I lick my lips, wipe the flakes of dried saliva from the left corner of my mouth; there's a damp, wrinkled spot on the script before me. I try to wipe it off, but the spit has already soaked through.

I shake my head to ward off the sleep, and bend over the paper to discern where I'd left off reading.)

A few drops still pattered against the glass roof, borne by the wind that had so goaded the previous night's storm, now reduced to a sort of silent song that merely coaxed the trees to sway. The sound of the rain was soothing; she resolved to go outside and cool down, to bask in the buoyant breeze, under the washed-out, watercolor sky—she approached the glass doorway. She slowed.. she lingered there, and at the threshold she balked, resolve gone. The beaming world outside frightened her; she felt sick, and dizzy, and in her mind she began to float because there was nothing holding her down; unable to propel herself, she flailed in place near the ceiling until the feeling passed.

She managed to draw closed the walls, then; the metal shutters obscured the day and she slid wraithlike through darkened halls, finding her way like a blind fish in a cave, pressing ever back through the stifling lightlessness to the chair at the center of the living room, into which she sank quivering and crying.

For a while she'd thought she was ill. She'd sleep during the day with the metal shutters closed, and watch the stars through her walls at night. She'd stand trembling at the threshold for hours, as if nothing less than the gale to end all gales churned outside; as if the act of entering it would tear her apart, or bear her so far off into the sky that she'd never survive the fall.

"Break a leg," he tells me, smiling. And I, I smile back at him. Oh, there's nothing but us in that moment—and then I'm pushing through the curtains, layer after layer of thick, heavy red velvet; waves the color of roses break over me. Dimly, I acquiesce the impossibility of this—I should be onstage by now—the waves push back relentlessly; my arms begin to ache. Tendrils of unease unfurl from the knot of compressed apprehension that had long since taken up residence there—since the date of the auditions, or perhaps before, when I'd met him

The lamp sways in front of me—no; I'm the one swaying, it seems. The words swim on the page and I wonder briefly whether I was dreaming then, or now... seas of scarlet curtains swim behind my eyeballs. The nascent, festering knot in my stomach shifts a little as I get up, as if it could be detected with an X-ray or perhaps extracted like some sort of toxic bezoar.

(Still sniffling gently, she slowly falls asleep. Once more she dreams of swamps, and the impossible, spectral beasts slinking through them..)

I stagger to the bathroom—it isn't far. I flick on the light, knowing it will blind me; I raise a hand to my eyes, squinting, blinking rapidly. When the phosphemes dispel I stoop to wash my face, hoping that the water and the light will clear the curtains of sleep and of dream from my eyes. The hope is vain, though—I'm spent, I know, and there's nothing for it but to go to sleep in earnest. So I perform my restroom mundanities and make my way back, killing lights as I go, 'til nothing remains between myself and the Dreaming.

(Or is she dreaming?—eyes closed or open, the darkness is complete. She finds she can move around, if she likes—ah, a lucid dream, then. Her home is a vast marsh, and she wanders through it, sinking into the floor occasionally. She wonders whether it stains her clothing when she does—she can't see; she can't see anything. But she knows her way, and she finds herself by the door again, a great metal door this time, and without thinking, without resolving anything, she reaches out to it; she's observing herself slide it open and it seems she isn't dreaming after all—

When the scarlet curtains swamp me this time, I'm prepared. I arm myself with reality, with reassurances, with reason above all—I sense the end before it comes; I sense it as a flood of light.

She's outside, now, and the sun is caressing her eyes...
From between the scattered trees, she glimpses a forest in a vale betwixt two hills.

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#, as written by Circ
Compensation. What a funny word, I think, gazing down at my paycheck. As if any amount of pay for my menial tasks at the company really serves as retribution for the wasted hours of my life. Hours I no doubt would waste anyway, be they on a stupid game or masquerading as a whole human.

The brilliant story I have been saving is now foggy in my memory, and I am positive that the retelling will be lacking. So, when I head out to dinner with my roommate, I will probably never bring it up. If I head out to dinner. Will the consequences of not going be worse than the actual attendance? It doesn’t matter. Whatever he wants, he will get, because I lack the will to fight and care not to vanquish his will to do what I can not.

Outside the rotating doors, a solitary leaf spirals to the ground.

He watches it idly, mind reeling in tandem. Its colors grow richer, the lame beige deepening to copper with accents of bronze and burgundy striking through and shimmering metallically in the blades of light cutting through the canopy. It lands, settling on a palatial, white throat, and Sod flinches at the stark contrast. Hands dropping to his sides, he remembers why he was shaking her, and why he is shaking. Abruptly forcing his knees to straighten and his feet to support an unsteady frame, he wonders if any of these phantom females are real. Is his mind playing with him? They’re so strikingly familiar, so obeisant, so pure.

So dead.

A gasp erupts from his throat and he rushes away. Foolishly in the morning light. Loudly through the brambles of the meadow bordering the forest. Like a criminal. Like a murderer. Like what he is. A groan carves its way out of his mouth, thrashing forth on a crest of spittle, and he dashes headlong through a stream. Then an arrow rips into his flank, and he drops into the water, gasping for breath. In a moment of shock, he watches the slow current bear his blood away, his paling fingers flexing around a cruel shaft protruding from beneath his arm. Pushing himself up, he wills himself to flee, but by the time he pulls his cheek from the flood an indomitable force is pressing down from the other side.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever.
May the Lord rejoice in His works.
He who looks at the Earth and it trembles.
He who touches the mountains and they burn.

I will sing to the Lord all my life.
I will sing to my God as long as I live.
May my meditations please you, as I rejoice in you Lord.
Praise you Lord forevermore.


“So how is dinner? Knock knock? Anyone there?”

“What the hell are you playing? Turn it off. Now,” I shout, gazing angrily across the table toward the proprietor, forgetting not only myself but my friend.

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#, as written by Korrye
When I see the phone number on the display I have no need to answer it. Angrily my fingers twitch at my side but I know what this is about, what they're going to say. No one would phone at such an ungodly hour for nothing. As the display fades the echoes of the voices downstairs reach me. From the sobs and the pity going out to the other end I know that I was right. It had happened. There was no questioning it. Despair slams into me like a wrecking ball and to balance my feet I plunk down on my bed. There is nothing that I can do or say to make it better. In fact I would probably make things worse. Would I? As I stare into nothing She comes back. The little girl on the swing. She turns her head to stare at me, look me in the eyes with her own watery ones. Then her brow furrows as I don't understand her and she warps my thinking. Taking my thoughts and my beliefs and melding them together, to what she supposes it should be. Everyone else believes in this. Should I? My friends believe in it, although they don't practice it? Do I? No I don't. I know that when I think this way I am never myself. But as my friends put on the front that they are not dealing with the same confusion I feel lost. She takes my thoughts and once again starts to fold the edges, making things the way that I don't think they should be. I am not myself when I am around her. As I fight back she grows in fury making me feel as if all she knows is right. Do I believe her and what she thinks? Should I? Angrily I throw my arms into the air and with a cry of frustration weep. Only time will tell me who I am and what I should think. My character will come back to me, I remind myself. Or will it? Will I always think this way, trapped in a sense that I am wrong, an outsider or that I know nothing about myself at all? That takes too long, I remind myself. Don't let time do the job, get rid of the girl now.

Death is becoming, some say. Maybe the dear old poet got it wrong. That man who claimed such a thing probably was some loner anyways. Death. Death. Death. The word is a reverberation amongst the minds of the people. As they go along with their daily businesses there is nothing more to life than their fleeting thoughts. Days come and go when the word doesn't come to mind, with the exception of the obsessed. But otherwise there are times when it haunts you, lingering over your shoulder hollering. Wouldn't you like to know? Wouldn't you like to feel it, taste it? To the lonely girl who sits on her own in a tree the taunt causes her to shiver. The tremor ripples through her shoulders down to her toes forcing her skin to erupt into tiny volcanoes. Her hairs rise on end as she remembers her friend. Word reached her today that he had left. Gone forever, never again. Continuously she heard his laughter in her head or maybe his voice telling her that it was wrong to cry. He wouldn't want, she noted, but still it hurt so much. The pain seemed to gouge down into her chest tugging at her diaphragm, forcing the muscles in her throat to choke and swell. Her tongue was covered in phlegm and it did not matter how many times she swallowed. It always came back. As did the tears.

Her skirt was drenched partly from wiping her face, otherwise it was wet from crossing the stream. For you see, the very tree she had climbed was the one that he had brought her to. It seemed very becoming of such a young lad to take an even smaller child under his wing. For the while that her father was out to sea and her mother at the market he had watched her, guarding her from certain perils but exposing her to others. Adventure seemed to be what he exuded, a sense that he was doing what he was doing only for her. Kindness seemed to be in his every grasp. Bad things always seemed to happen to good people.

Now he was gone. After years of suffering with no peace he had departed. Lonely girl had not even been by his side through it all. Disease riddled and not himself; she'd only seen him like that once. Shocked and horror stricken at what it had done to him she had found it awkward to be around him. For during that one time there was no hope about him. After a year of changes and hardships he had given up on his fight. There was no peace within him. Only dreariness as he walked towards the light.

Guilt seemed to pool inside her because of it, because of her reaction and thoughts when she had seen him. When she was home her mother had told her not to remember him that way, to remember him the way he was. There was no optimism in her Mama's voice, only a mild despair that grew in strength as the months dragged on. Finally it had come, word in the middle of the night that he had gone. The passing was not tragic but the Lonely girl could not understand him anymore. Why had he given up on such a battle? Why? Why? Why! He had been so hopeful, but then again that was years ago. As time passes people change. But that much? Maybe it was the disease, riddling his mind and what he truly believed. Or the treatments, perhaps. They had been painful things. Even though she had never seen them she had heard all about them. The Lonely girl knew more than enough about it to understand that what he had undergone was a horrendous way to spend your final years.

Along with his death came that confusion. He had never lived his life, never found his significant other. At least not to the extent that some would wish. Was it better to go on that way? What was love? What did it feel or taste like? Is it a terrifying emotion best left locked away? What if it was misinterpreted? What if the Lonely girl didn't understand it? As this came to mind her heart thundered in her chest thrashing about in her ribcage and causing her body to mildly sweat. There was nothing pleasant about this for she feared it. She feared love, feared death. Was that any different than anyone else? They surely put on a front that they didn't think that way. The Lonely girl's mouth seemed to twitch. It seemed to hard, this life. So confusing. What if she admired people? What if she wanted to be just like someone else? Was that so wrong? Other people were sure to misinterpret that, say something disturbing and so wrong that it seemed right. How unfair was that, so unjust. Because, should someone say that sort of thing, surely her mind would warp the words and believe them too. But if she was really herself, all of the time, then maybe...just maybe her mind would cast the words out. But it was too risky! The Lonely girl leaned her head against the trunk of the tree swinging her legs as she sighed, her chest catching the breath and strangling it. As her lungs convulsed she finally let out the locked away sob. Soon her whole body began to heave with anger and confusion. There was so much that she didn't know and didn't understand. So much to fear with too many risks. What if her mind wants her to be something that she's not? Was she sick then? Was she sick like her lost friend? Or was it something else, something incorrigible that would lead the rest of her life through a plight of despair? The Lonely girl's hands trembled and her body seemed to shake as the rivers poured down her cheeks. With nimble fingers she grabbed up a fistful of her skirt and wiped her face. There was a need to find some sort of confidence. And soon or this just might kill her-these feelings that is.

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#, as written by Circ
“Dude, what is the matter with you?” I hear while staring angrily at my drink, the frigid water fogging up the glass. Tracing a line down the side with my thumb, I focus on the pristine aperture. It reminds me of wintertime, when I would trace shapes on the truck window before the sun could melt away the evening frost. Absurd and familiar is the dichotomy of a fond memory’s weight in grief.

My hands fold along the edge of the table and I push away from it. Retreating from the booth, I risk a glance at my friend. He is perturbed, and I really don’t know what to say. So I say something stupid and head out.

“This one’s on you, right?”

The idiotic words linger in my mind as I rush from the deli and into the cold rain to flag a cab. Had I actually forced a grin? My stomach churns at the notion of hollowness desecrating my actions. Before he finishes paying, a taxi pulls up and it takes me away from difficult explanations. Yet even in there I am not safe, as I soon discover when my cell phone vibrates condemningly in my pocket. Shutting it off, I direct the cab driver on where to go, and he does so without fanfare or needless conversation. Half an hour later I get out.

Although it is raining hard and my breath comes forth in ghostly wisps, I walk deliberately beneath the rusty entry arch of Hope Cemetery. Beneath poplar trees, a familiar path leads me to the one place where I feel safe; where I can curl up on wet grass, lean my head against unyielding granite, and without shame forget anything else in the world exists. Alone, I close my eyes, and am glad to not see anything.

It has been a year. I haven’t forgotten.

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#, as written by Circ
Elysian expectations yield to lurking horrors of the inscrutable - what am I doing? Vain, worthless poetry, quoth I in tedious rote! Can it be said there is comfort in an empty rite? Not for me. Not for me. Such a sentiment is a wholly meaningless abstraction of experiences; a quaint bulwark I contrive solely to separate frailties: to barricade my fears in autonomous chambers and forestall their collusion. Nebulous syllogisms do nothing to ease a hemorrhaging soul. Nothing!

Libertas re vera. Oh, it is a pitiless monster. May it shred the lids from my eyes.

Sweeping across the knoll is a hasty breeze darting with algor across the monuments to the dead. As numbing as the wind and rain and granite are to flesh, there is no anesthetic for the beleaguered consciousness. I embrace blind sleep in closing my eyes, but my mind hastens to palpable dread. Embellishment on the matter does it injustice. Enough words of delay!

I hate myself. She is dead. Where her spirit went, if anywhere, I don’t know.

Such sharp pain does further cruelty by reminding me of my own mortality, for I know not where such a bankrupt spirit as mine will, if anywhere, go. My own selfishness eludes me and, through sheer exhaustion, my body slips into a deep, shivering slumber atop the grave of my...

“He is a sorrowful one, isn’t he?” squeaks a tiny voice very near. A peculiar sound, fracturing from the patter of an afternoon drizzle.

“Who said that?” chokes out Sod, lifting his portrait from muddy ground and opening a blood-shot eye to see a crude palisade jutting awkwardly skyward. Bark is peeling haphazardly off the poles, but the sharp edges are nonetheless intimidating. His tongue cleaves to his dry hard palate and his breathing is laborious. Even the faint, hazy light stings his one open eye: a brilliance eclipsed as the small form of a field mouse navigates its way into his field of view.

“Well, look at that, he’s awake!” it peeps, leaning close to Sod’s nose and twitching the long, stiff whiskers extending from its own.

“What sort of sick dream is this?” Sod moans, receiving a handful of mud in his clawing hands on trying to push himself upward, alas, to no avail.

A little chorus of high-pitch laughter emanates from the ground near his head, and he sees two more little mice come into view. The first, their spokesman, says, “He says he is dreaming. Hah! Look at that. I suppose were I him, I would wish I were dreaming too.”

“Stop vexing and let the lug rest,” declares a noticeably older voice.

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Celestial tears dribbled along the ground, sundering along my body; the spray created a sparkling silhouette, casting rainbows of the sky’s cimmerian soul. My eyes shine in darkness, the paradox of the human mind. Water pervades the senses, yet I feel kin to its polar freedoms. Where the snake coils and the timid mouse retreats, I go. Ever more transparent, all passes through and naught but the questions stay, through wind and rain, sun and shade. The price of freedom is my contentment, its vast place resettled by the torrents of loneliness, flourishing waves to pound in the loss. Only by having no isle, can the erosion of that sea be avoided. Spectral existence is my fate, to be until unseen.

My feet, though I know no such word, take me along the muddied path. A placid pool comes forward to meet me and though I see clearly, my appearance holds no corporeal value. What I see is the face of terror, maligning the instinct of companionship. I cannot help myself, nor draw those who can.

Thunder drowns out the water and my screams, booming across the scalloping hills. The oppressive onus of my thoughts crushes my sanity, and I flail madly, slamming my fist at the ground. Fatigue and the piercing cold burn me, whips licking at my skin. I manage to crawl underneath a thick bush, each blade of grass an explosion of sorrow and pain. Darkness rushes to my aid, my only companion...

The brief solace of my slumber is broken, mercilessly dragging me into a body pained by endless paroxysms and enough self-culpability to smother. Some wayward leaf rustled... Why?

"What! Show yourself trash... only trash would wander here..." I shout, releasing a pent up fury, spewing madly as a volcano. It boiled my blood, the passionate hysteria of my frenzy threatened to burst forth from my heart; my black little heart. An airy howl berated some branch, cracking it... Enough!

And I fell down back to the spinning earth, ensorceled in some stupor. I felt empty. The vast oceans of hate, vanished; evaporated by sheer ferocity. It felt good, nay, euphoric.

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Life

Life by RolePlayGateway

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Reality by Remæus

St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.

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Imagination by Remæus

A product of thoughts, dreams, pain, and desire - imagination is a world where any expression is possible, but vividly expresses the taint of human depravity.

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Character Portrait: Nate, the Dreamer
0 sightings Nate, the Dreamer played by GoodJobDino
Reliving the feelings, and moments that never leave through remembrance.

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Character Portrait: Sable Wakefield
Character Portrait: Charles
Character Portrait: Aerin Chambers
Character Portrait: Ezekiel Youngblood

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Character Portrait: Ezekiel Youngblood
Ezekiel Youngblood

I am Infp. I am 1-5% of the population. I am Heartfeld.

Character Portrait: Aerin Chambers
Aerin Chambers

A girl trying to find her way out of the world that is all the makings of dreams and find true reality

Character Portrait: Charles
Charles

An aging man who, amidst despairing for his deteriorating body and thankless job, rediscovers his darker side and is liberated by it.

Character Portrait: Sable Wakefield
Sable Wakefield

An ordinary boy, searching for meaning in a life that is almost an allegory.

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Character Portrait: Aerin Chambers
Aerin Chambers

A girl trying to find her way out of the world that is all the makings of dreams and find true reality

Character Portrait: Ezekiel Youngblood
Ezekiel Youngblood

I am Infp. I am 1-5% of the population. I am Heartfeld.

Character Portrait: Charles
Charles

An aging man who, amidst despairing for his deteriorating body and thankless job, rediscovers his darker side and is liberated by it.

Character Portrait: Sable Wakefield
Sable Wakefield

An ordinary boy, searching for meaning in a life that is almost an allegory.

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Character Portrait: Charles
Charles

An aging man who, amidst despairing for his deteriorating body and thankless job, rediscovers his darker side and is liberated by it.

Character Portrait: Ezekiel Youngblood
Ezekiel Youngblood

I am Infp. I am 1-5% of the population. I am Heartfeld.

Character Portrait: Aerin Chambers
Aerin Chambers

A girl trying to find her way out of the world that is all the makings of dreams and find true reality

Character Portrait: Sable Wakefield
Sable Wakefield

An ordinary boy, searching for meaning in a life that is almost an allegory.


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Life

Life by RolePlayGateway

The container of experiences that a living creature goes through, whether asleep or awake.

Reality

Reality by Remæus

St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.

Imagination

Imagination by Remæus

A product of thoughts, dreams, pain, and desire - imagination is a world where any expression is possible, but vividly expresses the taint of human depravity.

Life

Life Owner: RolePlayGateway

The container of experiences that a living creature goes through, whether asleep or awake.

Reality

St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.

Imagination

A product of thoughts, dreams, pain, and desire - imagination is a world where any expression is possible, but vividly expresses the taint of human depravity.

Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » Almost an Allegory: Out of Character

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Most recent OOC posts in Almost an Allegory

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Did you guys need more roleplayers?
I'd happily join if you could just fill me in roughly on what is happening? (:

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Alright, so, i have submitted a character for this roleplay. Now, in know the character was aproved, because i got the massage saying that my character was added to the roleplay. However, whenever i go to post, it says that i must submit a character before i can post anything.

Does anyone know why this is happening?

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Oh. There's an OOC.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

For those of you watching this ... I've moved Almost an Allegory into the RolePlay tab, under the "Life" place - since the subsets are kind of intermingled and there is no way of splicing things. I also wouldn't want to do so, either. So, please make future posts through there, making sure that the place selected is "Life."

roleplay/almost-an-allegory/places/life/

Also, please submit a character. It doesn't have to have a huge profile; in fact, I prefer something sufficient and brief. For that information, you can click on Main Page, Characters from the link above.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Wut ... RPG is pissing me off now; I had that damn thread bookmarked so that I'd get alerted when a new post arrived ! Aw, fuck sake ...

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Selothi wrote::lol:

Dates, dear friend, dates ...


I'm not sure I follow. I did make a few posts to the IC lately, but I guess nobody noticed. ;o

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

:lol:

Dates, dear friend, dates ...

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Yes. You just jump in.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

So umm do we like just jump in??

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Not really mate. If the RP recruitment thread doesn't work, there's not much else. Not like you're gonna advertise this thing through mass PMs ! Either that, or edit the tags to contain more info about the RP, so as to draw more people. Other than that, fingers are to be crossed.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

I attempted to garner some modicum of interest by soliciting in the "Roleplayers Wanted" area, but I received no response. And because there is a rule against double-posting, I can't bump the thread. >.>

Selothi, do you have any ideas about prospective methods of recruiting new members? I think we need to get a couple more Roleplayers that will consistently participate, other than myself, you and Circ.

I'm not sure what you mean by driving force, Circ, but certainly a small group of active players could resurrect this RP; or, if need be, recreate it from scratch.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Well, I don't know about driving force, but if the people already in the RP are willing to start back-up, surely this thing can live on for a while more, aye ? Like I said, I'd love to be a part of this thing, if ever it can back on track, it's just such a unique idea.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Life is good.

If there were people who acted as a driving force behind this, other than myself, I would certainly be interested in getting things rolling again.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Heh, just read through it, and I knew I'd wanted to join it back when it was kicking. Of course, it's not kicking any more, the legs have rotted away even, but I follow Astral here, would it be possible to revive this ? I really like the concept, and writing this type of stuff is just greatly comforting, or at least to me it is. And of course, you're all pretty bloody top-notch. So yeah, life again, anyone ?

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Well, Almost an Allegory has taken a long, long hiatus. Anybody besides me feel that it is time for it to be revived?

I want to see this story evolve, at the very least to the point where the plot has become apparent, because it is awesome. The idea behind this RP is awesome to.

VIVA LA ALLEGORY!

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

I respect this. I really do. You will continue to see posts from me and with all hope, we will grow in the process. Enthralling idea.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

If you need to ask me questions directly about the environment, message me on AIM or MSN: Feepit / circ@angelfire.com - otherwise, nice post.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Well, that is a relief. I bit short, but I'll do something more when I figure out what or how exactly to meld together this.. dream world? with the characters real life. I'm a little confused.

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

Go ahead and finish your post. :D

Re: Almost an Allegory (OOC)

I feel stupid. I haven't logged on in months, and I come back to see the story that I could have participated in for all that time. If you don't remember me, look at page 2 of this thread.

Hah, I just found my half finished post that was meant for this Rp. I feel the need to finish it.

Sorry about disappearing.